Stories of Business Built on Passion

Many businesswomen who have grown into successful entrepreneurs started out as women similar to you and me. They pursued their occupation. They went on holiday and spent time with family and friends.

Most life-changing, however, was the fact that they were passionate about a particular idea or issue. The stories of these women are remarkable in that each of them uncovered her passion and nurtured the spark that was to grow her brainchild into a business.

Business Built on a Passion for Relationships

Lori Cheek was a romantic individual in search of her soul mate. She would often see interesting and even alluring strangers as she went about her daily business. In each one of those spottings, she wondered whether she was circumventing her potential soul mate since she had always been taught since she was a child not to speak to strangers.

One day she observed her co-worker slickly sliding a dinner invitation to a captivating stranger by writing a message on the back of a business card. This is the idea came to Cheek to start the business she called Cheek’d. The concept involved a card designed somewhat like a business card but without too many personal details.

Instead, it mentions general information pertaining to your interests, for example, your hobbies. There’s also a unique code on the card which would allow another person to connect with you privately online if that person has taken an interest in you too.

Cheek gave up her architecture career and directed her energies into her passion. By nurturing the spark, she started a business that not only helped her build relationships with others but also led her to find her own soul mate. Cheek states, “I’m no longer building structures. I’m now building relationships, and I couldn’t be happier.”

Madeleine Melcher always had an intense interest in the subject of adoption. Perhaps it was because she was an adopted child herself who had then, with the support of her spouse, adopted three children of her own. Unlike many couples, the adoption procedure for her and her spouse was quite short and uncomplicated. Melcher believes this occurred not due merely to good luck, but because she had the perfect portfolio.

Would-be parents who don’t easily make the cut often struggle to create a portfolio with enticing and significant information about themselves.

An adoption portfolio is supposed to include all the convincing and relevant information that will help a birth mother decide that her child would have a perfect life in your family. When Melcher received a request from a representative of the adoption agency to assist some families who had been struggling for years to adopt a child, she developed a business idea.

She decided to turn her passion for adoption into a business called Our Journey to You. Her business can help potential adoptive parents create the perfect portfolio through steps and concrete examples that will appeal to mothers giving up their child for adoption.

Melcher states, “I love getting the texts or emails out of the blue that a client I have worked with has been matched or seeing the pictures of the new little blessing that has become their world.”

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Business Built on a Passion for Your Interests

Katie Niemeyer was incredibly passionate about running a marathon. When she was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), she decided to overcome this obstacle on her own.

The skin disease led to tremendous pain while she was running as her salty sweat would drip onto the second- or third-degree blisters on her face. Niemeyer’s solution was her design of exceedingly absorbent sweatbands which could be transformed into hand gloves.

This led her to start a business with her product Handana. She says, “The passion behind the product is to inspire others to cross their finish line, no matter where it is in life, and empower others along the way.”

Erica Shames had harboured a passion for starting her own lifestyle magazine ever since she began writing for one as a college student. When she relocated to Pennsylvania from New York City with her husband, she attacked her passion. She started a business, launching Susquehanna Life. Susquehanna Life is a quarterly lifestyle magazine focussing on the rural regional lifestyle.

She thought it was a great way for her to explore the area around her new home while providing city folks with insights into her adorable small town. Shames states that her work will continue as, “There are still so many stories to tell.”

Business Built with Your Passion to Make a Better World

Gretchen Roberts was always passionate about protecting the environment. Despite her conscientiousness in the way she led her own life, she noticed that not everyone has an option to be a conservationist in their workplace. So she started a business-to-business enterprise called Verde Direct.

Her business offers sustainable and environmentally safe cleaning materials and work supplies. She says, “I remember that I wanted to do this for me, to own a business that can go beyond just me and make a difference in the world.”

Business Built with Your Creative Passion

Here are four inspirational women who followed their creative passion to start a business. Each of these women creates handmade products which they sell online.

“Your creativity is what drove you to sell handmade products in the first place, and when you use that creativity, your audience will be excited about what you’ve created.” — Sahnda Marie

Coralie Reiter sells handmade textile jewellery through her online store Coralie Reiter Jewelry. She uses her keen sense of colour to design each of her pieces in a modern-tribal fusion style. Robin Fitzsimons started a business named Fitzy that offers handmade leather products, most of the accessories. Sahnda Marie capitalised on her passion to create soft baby shoes after giving birth to her own child.

Her business Sahnda Marie Kids offers products that are made from soft, organic, chemical-free fabrics so that a baby can be stylish, safe and comfortable all at the same time. Valerie Franklin and her husband Geoffrey started a business called Walnut Studiolo. Their business sees her husband designing leather products while Valerie handles the online marketing and sales.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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